If you are looking at this then it means you are part of the final four and looking to reap the rewards of placing in the top 3 of your Fantasy Football League. It’s not too early to start previewing your match ups and how they stack up against your opponent. Here are my top projected Fantasy Running Backs for Week 16, Championship Week.
1. ARIAN FOSTER (HOU): Foster squares up against the lowly Colts, whom won their first game against the Titans Sunday. While the Colts did play one of their better games, a repeat effort is unlikely. The Colts are still sitting at 28th vs. the run, allowing 138 YPG. Chris Johnson was still able to total 109 yards against them, despite being the primary focus of the Colts defense. In contrast to CJ2K, Foster is at the top of his game and thriving. The Texans are still jockeying for seeding position so will not take this game lightly.
2. WILLIS MCGAHEE (DEN): Willis Mcgahee suffered a hamstring injury against the Pats, but was able to return briefly in the third quarter. Coach John Fox stated he was primarily held out as a precaution due to the score and injury. McGahee will no doubt be up to the task against his former team the Bills this week. The Bills are 29th vs. the run, allowing 139 yards per game. McGahee thrives against weaker defenses and should be heavily involved as always.
3. C.J. SPILLER (BUF): On the flip side of this game is C.J. Spiller, who has increased his work load every week and settled into a Fred Jackson like role. Spiller has scored three times in his last three games, totaling 100+ yards in two of the contests. Denver allowed both Benjarvis Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead to find the end zone last week, a rarity in the Pats pass heavy offense. WIth Ryan Fitzpatrick struggling, Spiller is a lock to get at least 15 touches and is the sole carrier on this team.
4. MAURICE JONES-DREW (JAC): Maurice Jones-Drew has been the heart an soul of this offense, totaling 1,749 yards from scrimmage with 7 touchdowns. The Titans are 23rd against the run, allowing Donald Brown his best game of the season last week. Brown led the anemic Colts to win behind his 161 yard rushing, 1 touchdown effort. The Jags are built very similarly to the Colts and Jones-Drew possesses much more shiftiness and ability than Brown.
5. MICHAEL BUSH (OAK): Bush’s potential is tied to the status of Darren McFadden this week, who may return to action after missing several weeks. Regardless of McFadden’s return, Bush will see the bulk of the carries as Mcfadden is worked slowly back into the lineup. Bush draws the 24th ranked rush defense of the Chiefs this week, a divisional game in which the Raiders will be at the top of their game. The last time these two teams met Bush was able to rack up 111 total yards despite the game resulting in a shutout. It was Carson Palmer’s rush to action in relief of Kyle Boller and far from his best performance. Palmer is light years beyond his rusty self which in turn makes Bush’ job that much easier.
6. DEANGELO WILLIAMS (CAR): After being second fiddle for most of the season, Williams has emerged as the primary ball carrier the last few weeks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town this week, allowing no less than 23 points to home teams this season. The Bucs are 30th against the run, allowing 21 touchdowns on the season. The Bucs have also allowed no less than 80 yards rushing to opposing backs the last 4 weeks. While this play does come with the risk of Jonathan Stewart being the guy who finishes with a better day, it’s best to examine all your options and roll with a safer pick. If Williams is one of your primary backs then roll with him in confidence.
7. RAY RICE (BAL): The Browns played beyond their 31st run defense last week, holding Beanie Wells to just 61 total yards with a score. While they were able to over perform, a consecutive week at that level isn’t going to happen. Ray Rice was held to 112 yards on Monday Night Football, a solid performance given the Chargers blew out the Ravens with ease. Returning back to the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, Rice should shine and be the most active player on the field once again. The Browns are first against the pass so Baltimore really has no other choice.
8. ADRIAN PETERSON (MIN): With a week under his belt and suffering no ill effects from his work load, Peterson is primed for 20 touches this week against the Washington Redskins. The Skins are 15th against the run, allowing 112 yards per game. Christian Ponder has struggled without Peterson and his return will aid both the run and pass game. Expect Peterson to receive 15-20 touches, putting him among the safest starts this week.
9. LESEAN MCCOY (PHI): McCoy has been a touchdown machine the last two games, scoring 5 times. He has scored in all of his last four games and has the team rolling since Mike Vick’s return to action. McCoy squares off with the stout Dallas rush defense, ranked 7th and allowing only 98 YPG. However, the last time these two teams met, McCoy rushed for a whopping 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. McCoy could easily wind up finishing in the top 5 this week but a road game against a defense which has vowed to play to their potential pushes him down a bit.
10. ROY HELU (WAS): Helu was stopped from reaching his 4th straight 100+ yard performance against the Giants last week, but Washington was still able to escape with a win. This week he draws the Minnesota Vikings who are 10th against the run. New Orleans toasted the Vikes for 161 rush yards last week, adding 120 pass yards to running backs in the process. With Helu crowned the lead back and Minnesota’s weak secondary reeling, there should be plenty of lanes and scoring opportunities available.